On-site medical team aims to keep crowds safe at Chasing Summer Festival

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A popular Calgary music festival that attracts thousands of people every year gets underway on Saturday. The Chasing Summer Festival has a history of medical emergencies related to drugs and alcohol. However, changes this year could help make the event safer for everyone – Aug 4, 2018

Update: Alberta EMS said Monday that a total of seven people were taken to hospital from the Chasing Summer Music Festival; six on Saturday and one on Sunday. All seven were taken in stable, non-life-threatening condition.

Nelson Averns is preparing to join the thousands of people at the Chasing Summer Festival.

The event runs Saturday and Sunday outside the Max Bell Centre.

“It’s a really great atmosphere for sure,” Averns said. “It’s high energy, often a lot of people.”

With such big crowds, though, things can quickly get out of hand.

READ MORE: Calgary’s Chasing Summer Music Festival reverses all-ages decision

At last year’s festival, Calgary police charged someone with assault for punching a security guard and kicked six people out of the venue.

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There were also 15 people rushed to hospital during the two-day festival, five of them in serious condition.

WATCH: 15 taken to hospital for substance abuse treatment from Calgary’s Chasing Summer Festival

This year, organizers of the annual electronic music festival have significantly increased resources on the grounds.

Global News has learned that the festival has hired Odyssey Medical to be on site for the first time.

Calgary EMS hopes that means few 911 calls.

“My understanding is they have significantly increased resources. They’re going to have a higher skill level of the resources on-site,” Nate Pike with Calgary EMS said.

“We’re hoping and we’re optimistic that’s going to mitigate a lot of the transports that we normally see.”

Odyssey Medical will have naloxone kits on hand.

However, the Festival does not allow attendees to carry naloxone kits into the festival.

WATCH: Naloxone kits to be allowed at music festivals

Pike says, from his personal experience, naloxone doesn’t necessary help with the type of drugs often found at electronic dance music festivals.

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“Recreational drugs used at EDM events typically aren’t opioids,” Pike said. “I can appreciate the concern of having sharp instruments at an EDM festival like that.”

“It’s great to know you have that assurance if something does go wrong, there’s trained professionals to take care of you,” Averns said.

He’s hoping for an experience to remember, for all the right reasons.

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